Over 20 Arkansas nonprofits unite to make sure voters have smooth polling experience

25 nonprofits in central Arkansas are uniting as one coalition to bring #JoyToThePolls.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — If you head to a polling place on Election Day, you may see some friendly faces lending a helping hand.

25 non-profits are uniting as one coalition to bring #JoyToThePolls.

Loriee Evans, an organizer with Indivisible Little Rock and Central Arkansas, said positivity at the polls is so vital in this year full of unknowns and hard times. 

“2020 has been such a divisive year and this election and whole election process has been so contentious,” she said. 

This is why a new coalition of 25 Arkansas community groups and nonprofits have united with one main mission according to Scott Hamilton, the Urban League of Arkansas CEO, who is spearheading the effort. 

“Our big thing is just wanting to make sure that Arkansans have a good smooth experience at the polls,” he said. 

They are all members of various groups from across central Arkansas that were already working individually to mobilize voters, but Hamilton said in mid-October they came together as the Arkansas Election Defense Ad-Hoc Task Force. 

“We believe community collaboration is the key to our success in our society and that’s what voting is all about,” he said. 

For the past two weeks, Evans said volunteers have been out at various early voting sites handing out snacks, water, PPE, and answering any questions voters may have.

“We’re just there to help people, provide some hospitality while voting, provide a little voter education, so people feel safe and comfortable,” she said. 

According to Hamilton, on Election Day the food trucks and members will be spread out at 10 Central Arkansas voting centers to bring #JoyToThePolls from the first vote counted at sun up to the last person in line at sundown. 

“If we can help out in any way, that’s our objective. We just want to be there to serve people and make sure their experience is a nice one,” he said. 

At the end of the day, the group’s goal is to support everyone taking part in the election process; whether you’re a voter, poll worker, or election official, it’s all about making your voice heard. 

“If we can come together as a community after such a divisive year and celebrate everyone engaging in the act of voting, then I think we can all kind of know that we left it on the table,” Evans said. 

This was the very first year the groups have come together for voting and they plan on doing it again in the elections to come.